Fruits And Vegetables Have Much Fewer Minerals And Vitamins Than Decades Ago, This Is Why

food nutrition decline

By Mayukh Saha / Truth Theory

Our parents often talk about how today’s stuff does not compare at all to what they ate decades ago. However, we usually write it off as our parents looking back at their lives through nostalgia’s rose-tinted glasses. After all, how can today’s foodstuffs, grown with cutting-edge technology and research, fall behind that of our parents?

Now, science has provided substantial proof that what our parents said was actually true. AJAS (American Journal of Agricultural Services) and ACN (American College of Nutrition) conducted multiple studies on the matter. Their findings are quite surprising.

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Professor Donald Davis, along with his team, conducted the landmark study at Austin’s University of Texas. They rigorously scanned through the nutritional data of 43 different fruits and vegetables as per the US Agriculture Department. They compared two sets of data: one from 1950 and the other from 1999, 5 decades apart.

The team found that there was a consistent decline in multiple nutrients in the foodstuff. The declining nutrients include vitamin C, riboflavin, vitamin A, iron, phosphorous, calcium, and protein. The declines ranged from 6% (protein) to a whopping 38% (Riboflavin).

What Can Be The Reason Behind The Deteriorating Fruits And Vegetables?

Professor Davis’ team theorizes that the reason is recent agricultural practices prioritizing the improvement of specific traits such as pest resistance, growth rate, size, and other visual aspects. Nutrition seems to have taken a backseat.

A much more worrying theory is that the nutrition decline reflects the natural nutrient depletion of the soil. They believe modern farming techniques that are extremely intensive are to blame for this.

Read: Impossible And Beyond Burgers, Are They Really Healthy Alternatives?

Another worrying aspect is that today’s food is contaminated with herbicides and pesticides like glyphosate. Even though our foodstuffs contain extremely low amounts of it, it is still present and accumulating. In fact, they have a possibility of making us ill with diseases such as cancer.

So, our parents were right all along! Over the decades, we seem to have moved towards quality over quantity more and more. As such, it is difficult for us to move away from. However, staying as far away as possible from inorganically grown foods is strongly recommended.


Change in vitamins and minerals from 1950 to 1999. From: Davis, D. R., Epp, M. D., & Riordan, H. D. (2004). Changes in USDA food composition data for 43 garden crops, 1950 to 1999Journal of the American College of Nutrition23(6), 669-682

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